MINNEAPOLIS >> Former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe said Tuesday that he reached a settlement with the team to avert a threatened lawsuit over his release, saying the club had agreed to donate to several groups that support gay rights.
Kluwe had accused the Vikings of cutting him in 2013 over his outspoken support for gay marriage. Financial details of the settlement weren’t released, but Kluwe said he would get no money. Five different charities will benefit over the next five years.
“This will help a lot of people that really do need that help,” Kluwe said. He said he was convinced the Vikings and owners Zygi and Mark Wilf were committed to the cause.
“They want to make this a reality where there is no homophobia in sports,” Kluwe said.
The Vikings confirmed the settlement in a statement posted on the team’s website. It also includes sensitivity training throughout the organization and plans for a national symposium on LGBT tolerance in Minneapolis in the spring.
Kluwe also had alleged that special teams coordinator Mike Priefer made anti-gay comments and tried to agitate him with homophobic language. In July, the Vikings issued a 29-page summary of a report that found no merit to Kluwe’s claim that he was wrongfully dismissed, but it did confirm that Priefer made anti-gay remarks during practice. The Vikings suspended Priefer for three games and ordered him to undergo sensitivity training.
Kluwe continued to threaten to sue the team if it didn’t release the full 150-page report. But his attorney Clayton Halunen said Tuesday the Vikings had done a thorough investigation into Kluwe’s allegation and made public “enough parts of that investigation to corroborate Chris’s story.”
Halunen said the Vikings have agreed to donate to several LGBT-related nonprofits, including the Matthew Shepard Foundation and a charity run by gay retired NFL player Wade Davis.
“As one of the most respected sports franchises in the country, the Vikings have committed to continue to positively impact how homophobia is dealt with in professional sports,” Halunen said.
Kluwe played eight seasons in Minnesota and hasn’t gotten a kicking job elsewhere since his release. He said Tuesday he is considering writing a book and pursuing public speaking opportunities.